FOOD IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF OUR LIVES AND OUR TONGUES DECIDES WHAT STAYS IN THE KITCHEN AND WHAT GOES.
The world is changing with the millennium age and the Nigerian kitchen is definitely picking up the pace. This development is redefining the Nigerian kitchen. Enhancing it? Yes. Stripping off our culture? No. The blend of herbs, spices and seasoning is what retains the originality in our food. Any trend that poses to take that away fizzles out almost immediately after they have surfaced.
However, a few trends have stood the taste of time; let me run you through them very quickly.
1. Rise of the measuring spoon
I remember stumbling on a measuring spoon at the mart and I thought to myself “What in the world could happen to my taste buds to make me buy these?” I have never used a measuring spoon while cooking and frankly, I don’t see myself doing so. An average Nigerian relies on their ancestral instincts to spice their food and not a measuring spoon. So, it is safe to say that my taste bud is my ultimate measuring spoon. Although many other ladies have gotten fancy in the kitchen using the measuring spoon but I can’t be bothered.
2. Tech cuisine
A known fact is that I’m a food lover, what you would normally call a foodie and I love my culture. To love our tradition –the African tradition –is to love swallow (solid food). I am a pounded yam and egusi soup lover. However, rather than almost pounding my arms out with a mortar and pestle, I would use a yam pounding machine or a food processor. Voila! I have my stress free fluffy pounded yam without compromising either the taste or the health of my arm. While my grandmother would rather blend pepper with a grinding stone, I would use an electric blender in a heartbeat. It hasn’t even crossed my mind to use a grinding stone. Why would I put my pretty little fingers through that much torture when I can stare at them and watch my blender do the work in seconds.
3. Jollof sushi
You would agree with me that it is almost impossible to be a Nigerian and not love Jollof rice. Couple of months back, Jollof Sushi surfaced. I was saddened by what had been done to our national food. By “our” I’m referring to my fellow Jollofarians - those who summersault and back flip at the sight of the deep red goodness especially if it was made with basmati rice; the rice that went to Harvard. Now, our national food was rolled into balls and had been sliced up. Although some welcomed this sushi trend, my fellow Jollofarians were against it.
It is fascinating that the way a Nigerian meal is prepared contributes to how it would taste. For instance, Moi - moi made in leaves tastes different from moi- moi made in nylon or in plastic bowls, homemade Jollof rice tastes totally different from firewood Jollof rice (party Jollof), Pounded yam is totally different from Poundo yam and so on. The difference doesn’t have anything to do with how it looks it is all in the taste; the taste is the difference!
Furthermore, some restaurants now plate with mini clay pots, use Aso oke (African fabric) for table cloth and so on. The idea is to integrate our culture as much as possible into our culinary lifestyle.
Well trends come and go but in the end, you decide what trends in your kitchen - your kitchen, your rules! As dictated by your taste buds.